Rice Women’s Basketball blasted past UTEP at home, locking up a first-round bye in the Conference USA Tournament win the win.
Maya Bokunewicz put up a three-pointer for the first shot of a midweek game between Rice women’s basketball and UTEP. It bounced off the mark before being recovered by Trinity Gooden who converted on the second-chance attempt to put Rice in front 2-0. In a dramatic divergence from the Owls’ last game where nothing would go in, even the missed shots turned into points on Thursday night.
The 2-0 lead quickly snowballed into a 22-7 lead which grew into a monstrous 28-point halftime advantage in favor of the Owls. That’s the sort of thing that happens when one team finds their stroke and shoots 57.6 from the field in the first two quarters.
Bokunewicz and Malia Fisher each had double-digit points before the halftime buzzer sounded. Destiny Jackson, Ashlee Austin and Trinity Gooden would join them in double figures before the night was through. And although they would cool down, averaging just 46.4 percent from the field for the game, their sizable lead was never in jeopardy.
The win secures Rice women’s basketball a top-five finish in the West, even if UTEP should win this coming Saturday. Rice will earn a bye in the first round of the conference tournament whereas UTEP will face seventh seed UTSA for a spot in the Day 2 games.
Player Spotlight | Malia Fisher
Fisher continues her bid for Conference USA Freshman of the Year with another dominant game, tying her career-high with 20 points on the way to another double-double. She also had three assists and two steals. Her versatility provides a spark to this team in a myriad of ways and has been crucial in their recent hot streak.
Stat Corner | 31
Two weeks ago following a narrow win over UAB, Rice women’s basketball head coach Lindsay Edmonds said she expected her team to be in a lot of close games. Games that — in her words — were going to “come down to the wire”. True to her prediction, Rice did play several neck-and-neck contests. Thursday’s win over UTEP was anything but close.
Rice led by as many as 31 points, essentially putting the game on ice by the midpoint of the very first quarter. It was one of the most dominant performances of the season and it came within days of the Conference USA Tournament.
Final Box | Rice 82 – UTEP 62
FINAL | @RiceWBB 82 – UTEP 62
— The Roost (@AtTheRoost) March 4, 2022
Up Next | Full Schedule
Rice women’s basketball has one more game remaining in the regular season. The Owls will host UTSA on Mar. 5, Senior Day. From there, it’s onto the Conference USA Tournament with the Owls’ final seeding still to be determined.